Posts Tagged ‘human rights activist’

Israel: End Arbitrary Detention of Rights Activist

December 7, 2009
Mohammed Othamn held without charge for 72 days
Human Rights Watch, December 4, 2009

“The only reasonable conclusion is that Othman is being punished for his peaceful advocacy…The authorities interrogated him for months, then ordered him held some more, but they won’t say why they are holding him and haven’t accused him of any crime.”

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military appeals court should end the administrative detention of Mohammed Othman, a West Bank rights activist, and order his release, Human Rights Watch said today.

Israeli authorities have detained Othman without charge for more than two months on what appear to be politically motivated grounds. On the basis of secret evidence that Othman and his lawyers were not allowed to see, a military court confirmed a military order that consigned Othman to three months administrative detention without charging him with any crime. Othman has no criminal record and, to the knowledge of Human Rights Watch, has never advocated or participated in violence. His detention period, which may be renewed, ends on December 22.

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His Name Is Ezra Nawi

June 12, 2009

by Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and Neve Gordon | MRZine, June 10, 2009

Every so often someone comes along who is so brave and so inspiring that you just can’t sit by and remain silent when you learn they need your help.

We’re writing to you today about one of these rare people.

His name is Ezra Nawi.

You’ve probably never heard of him, but because you may know our names, now you will know his name.

Ezra Nawi is one of Israel’s most courageous human rights activists and without your help, he will likely go to jail in less than 30 days.

His crime?  He tried to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins in the South Hebron region.  These homes and the families who live in them have been under Israeli occupation for 42 years.  They still live without electricity, running water and other basic services.  They are continuously harassed by Jewish settlers and the military.

Nawi’s friends have launched a campaign to generate tens of thousands of letters to Israeli embassies all over the world before he is due to be sentenced in July.  They’ve asked for your help.

His name is Ezra Nawi.

We keep saying his name because we believe that the more people know him and know his name, the harder it will be for the Israeli military to send him quietly to jail.

And Ezra Nawi is anything but quiet.

He is a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent who speaks fluent Arabic.

He is a gay man in his fifties and a plumber by trade.

He has dedicated his life to helping those who are trampled on.  He has stood by Jewish single mothers who pitched tents in front of the Knesset while struggling for a living wage, and by Palestinians threatened with expulsion from their homes.

He is loved by those with little power, to whom he dedicates his life, and hated by the Jewish settlers, military and police.

Now that you know Ezra, you have a chance to stand up for him, and for everything that he represents. Especially now, as Israel escalates its crackdown on human rights and pro-democracy activists.

He needs you.  His friends need you.  Those he helps every day need you. So please send a letter to the Consulate, to the media, to your family and friends.

Take just a moment to write your letter.  Do it now.  And then share his name with a friend.  Do it for Ezra Nawi.

Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Neve Gordon

Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Neve Gordon


This campaign is organized by Jewish Voice for Peace.  JVP also says: “Please go to the website created by Ezra’s defense committee where you can donate directly to help defray Ezra’s legal costs <www.supportezra.net >

Uzbekistan: Free human rights activist Akzam Turgunov

September 16, 2008

Government Critic Held on Fabricated Charges, Ill-Treated in Custody

Human Rights Watch, Sep 16, 2008

(Moscow, September 16, 2008) – Uzbek authorities should drop all charges against a human rights defender and opposition activist who faces politically motivated prosecution and immediately release him, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial against Akzam Turgunov resumes on September 16, 2008 in the remote town of Manget. Human Rights Watch also called on the authorities to ensure that Turgunov gets medical care for burns he suffered from ill-treatment in custody.

" The case against Turgunov sends a chilling message to other activists that working for justice is a dangerous business in Uzbekistan. Despite the recent release of several other activists, new cases like this one show that any government critic will be dealt with harshly. "
Igor Vorontsov, Uzbekistan researcher at Human Rights Watch
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“The case against Turgunov sends a chilling message to other activists that working for justice is a dangerous business in Uzbekistan,” said Igor Vorontsov, Uzbekistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Despite the recent release of several other activists, new cases like this one show that any government critic will be dealt with harshly.”

Police in Manget arrested Turgunov, 56, on July 11 on suspicion of extortion under circumstances that seemed to have been staged to frame him. He had originally traveled to Manget, in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic 1,100 kilometers west of Tashkent, in response to a request from a woman to help her with a court case to seek child support payments from her former husband. The woman’s former husband agreed to an out-of-court settlement and arranged to meet Turgunov and the woman’s brother to hand over the money. When a plastic bag supposedly containing the money was handed over to Turgunov, the police appeared and arrested him and the woman’s brother, charging that they had extorted money from the former husband. If convicted of extortion, Turgunov faces up to 15 years of imprisonment.

Turgunov is the chairman of Mazlum (“the oppressed”), a Tashkent-based human rights organization. He has served as a public defender in trials throughout Uzbekistan, including many in Karakalpakstan, in cases involving violations of human rights and civic freedoms.

Turgunov’s trial is not the only politically motivated prosecution ongoing in Uzbekistan. Last week, the trial of Salijon Abdurakhmanov, an independent journalist, began in Nukus, on politically motivated drug charges. These cases are the latest in a long line of prosecutions against government critics. At least 18 human rights defenders, dissidents and journalists remain in prison. Numerous others, fearing for their safety, have fled Uzbekistan to seek asylum abroad. In response to international criticism, the government has released several imprisoned human rights defenders, but harassment and arrests of others continue.

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